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2010 Goal: Failure or Success?

December 31st, 2010

This is the time of year we think about setting goals… some do it with great enthusiasm and others think it’s a bunch of garbage because dedication to goals don’t last past January. (check out Thom Singer’s post on goals and action items)

Two years ago I ripped my calf.  It was pretty bad and I was laid-up, on a couch and with crutches, for SIX painful weeks.  It was really bad.

Last year, about this time, I decided I would walk 500 miles in 2010.

It was a damn-the-torpedos goal… I hadn’t worked out much since I got laid off and it was taking a toll on my health and how I felt.

I started on January 2nd, 2010, walking 3.2 miles.  In Utah’s freezing cold I sludged through the snow, walked on ice and made this a top priority.

Most days I walked 3.2 miles, some days I added a bit more, and some days I got up to about 7 miles.

It took time but I really needed to make this happen.  And I really wanted to hit my 500 mile goal.

By Spring I felt great and saw some unexpected results.  It was awesome and I was easily on the way to hit my goal. I started to dream about hitting 600 miles, and sometimes thought about picking up the pace and hitting 1,000 miles in a year.

And then, sometime during the summer I had some pain in the calf that I had ripped.  I took some time off.

A while later I felt sick and took more time off.

In October I finished my first week of walking every day, Monday through Saturday, 4 miles each day (24 miles in a week).  Again, I was on track.

I got back from my walk that Saturday morning and, well, long story short, missed the last step on my basement stairs and twisted my ankle.

For the first time I had doubt about hitting my 500 miles.

Here we are on December 31st and, well, honestly, I can hit my goal.

IF I WALK 150 MILES TODAY.

That isn’t going to happen.

So I failed.

Or did I?

In 2009 I walked probably 10 miles the whole year.

In 2010 I walked about 350 miles.

Is that a failure?

I feel like it is a failure.

On the other hand, I walked 350 miles!  It was awesome!   I did 35 times more than I did last year. I’m in better shape than I have been in for a while.  I did something for myself (and not just my business)… it was empowering!

Was it a failure?

I didn’t hit my goal of 500, so technically I failed.  But I feel it was a success because I did a lot more than I would have done.

I set my sights on the moon, missed, but still hit a few stars.

So, do you set goals or not?  Is it a waste of time if you work towards it, make good progress, get value, grow, but miss the goal? (the answer probably depends on your personality :p)

My new goal for 2011: Walk 500 miles.  Starting January 3rd.

What’s your goal?

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What Were Recruiters Thinking About in 2010? Best Recruiting Blogs Blog Posts

December 30th, 2010

I just got an email from the founder of RecruitingBlogs, where recruiters go to learn, share, complain, laugh, etc.  Here’s part of it:

Below is the top 10 posts of 2010 on RecruitingBlogs.

1. Stupid Girl Loses Job Because of Facebook status

2. The Best format For Your Resume

3. Linkedin Profile Photo? 5 things Not to do

4. 3 Reasons I’ll read your Resume

5. Who Owns Your Linkedin Profile? What Everyone Needs to Know

6. Recruiters: One Ugly Question That Can Save Your Life

7. The Recruiter Personality Test

8. R.I.P. recruitment Search Agencies. Thank you for all your contributions but you will not be missed

9. Linkedin and the Future of Recruiting

10. What You don’t Know Can Hurt You

I share this because I think it’s important for job seekers to know what recruiters are thinking about.

If you read in-between the lines there is a lot there that can impact your job search…

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Will HR/Recruiters Find You Online?

December 29th, 2010

Check out this graph (was sent to me by someone who did a presentation on LinkedIn):

linkedin_hr_recruiters

I get a few messages out of this:

  • LinkedIn is used by pretty much everyone (I have to wonder what’s up with the 22% of HR or recruiters who are not using LinkedIn.
  • I’d love to know what the 50+% are doing, or looking for, or finding, on Facebook.
  • No one is going to find you because of blogs… less than 20%?  That is very, very low.

I’d like to know what the breakdown is between HR and recruiters… recruiters are likely more focused on looking for new talent while the scope of HR is much bigger (maybe looking for information on existing employees?).

Anyway, I have a new dimension to bring to this… check out what I inserted into the graph (the new bar :p):

linkedin_hr_recruiters_2

In my informal survey I assume that 100% of HR and recruiters will use Google (or any other search engine) to learn about _____ (stuff…. maybe YOU).

Guess what – from Google, they might find information from your LinkedIn account (Profile, and perhaps your contribution to LinkedIn Groups (NEW), Answers, etc.), your Facebook activity/profile, your Twitter account, and yes, even your blogs.

Let me restate that: if you have a blog (or comment on other blogs), the first graph shows you are likely to not be found.

The second graph shows you are likely to be found.

My point is this: just because some reports show that some technologies (like blogs) are really not useful in a job search, or in career management, doesn’t mean HR and recruiters aren’t finding your information (messaging, brand, passion, experience, etc.) from other sources, like GOOGLE!

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How To Network With A Complete Jerk

December 27th, 2010

A few years ago I had one of the most unpleasant experiences since my layoff.  It had to do with someone who is a complete jerk.

It’s not a long story but there’s no reason to tell it here.

This person has been on my mind frequently, since they had such an impact on me. I got a birthday reminder for The Jerk not too long ago.

After “the event” I never, ever wanted to talk to The Jerk again.

But I’ve thought about The Jerk frequently.

We talk about job seekers networking all the time.  But what if you have a JERK that is in your way?  How do you network with a JERK?

Simple: YOU DON’T.

Why not?

Because you don’t have to.

How beautiful is that?

Since starting JibberJobber I realized that I was empowered to choose who my associates were.

If I liked someone I could work with them more.

If I didn’t like them I could avoid them.

When you have a job it’s hard to avoid people you dislike, especially if they are a boss, coworker, customer, vendor, etc.

When you are in a job search, or in working on your own business, you have a lot more choice over who you associate with.

EXERCISE THIS CHOICE.

No one will force you to network with a JERK.

Isn’t that an awesome, empowering thing?

Yes it is!

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Happy Holidays!

December 24th, 2010

I’m taking the rest of the week off to be with my family.

My Christmas as a job seeker was, I think, more fun than my last year as an employee.

I know there is something good, even better, for you.  My thoughts are with each of you this season as you struggle through the lows, but I know the highs are coming!

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Getting Laid Off During The Holidays

December 23rd, 2010

Here’s an old post I wrote, and a fitting Favorite Friday for tomorrow… the original link is here (great comments), but I wanted to put the entire letter in this post:

Dear Employee # 3352899238,

What a terrific year we’ve had at Acme Widget Company! The team has really pulled together and we expect it to be the best year yet! Here are some of our accomplishments:

  • We successfully installed our new accounting system – thanks to IT, Finance and Accounting, who worked extra overtime for six months to make this a seamless transition! You will each receive an extra turkey with your customary Christmas ham.
  • We finally updated our Policy and Procedure manual – this significant overhaul brings us up to date and current with industry standards, and compliant with federal regulations. Not the most exciting accomplishment of the year, but we recognize the thousands of hours that went into this project, and we wish to express a hearty “thank you” to all of our administrative team who greatly contributed (sorry, no extra turkey for you since this did not have an impact on our profit).
  • We closed deals with four new customers, which guarantees next year’s revenue and profit growth to exceed 60% of our targets – thank you to our sales team who went above and beyond (and sorry to Joe, who’s wife left him due to the strenuous work conditions)
  • We maintained 94% customer retention, in spite of The Great Product Glitch last spring – our customer service team really saved our hides after we realized problems with some vendors. Their quick thinking and excellent response to customer issues kept us out of legal hot water and helped us keep almost all of our contracts intact – we’ll have an end-of-year party in the cafeteria just for you next Thursday (it’s potluck).
  • We finally established our offshore office, and will begin operations on January 1 – this will result in saving millions of dollars, again, contributing to a very strong 2009!

We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to you as we realize you made a significant impact during 2008.

Unfortunately, due to circumstances that we cannot control, and our new strategy to move professional positions to lower-wage countries, we are terminating your position. This is not a reflection on your performance and we hope that in the future you would consider re-employment with Acme – after all, we are a family company, and you are part of our family!

Happy new year!

Sincerely,

Your management team, where “open door” is our #1 policy!

P.S. We will be unavailable through January 7th, as we will be in Hawaii for our Executive Retreat (luckily we get to take our families with us this year!). Happy New Year!

Happy Holidays!

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How to do a Discreet Job Search

December 22nd, 2010

I got this question from someone in Villanova (near Philadelphia):

Jason, we met at the career seminar at Villanova University this past week and I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your presentation and all of your wonderful anecdotes and ideas.

Okay, that wasn’t the question, but I wanted to brag a little :p

When we spoke after the meeting for a few minutes, you indicated that I should follow up to request that you write a blog on how to seek employment when the individual is still employed and worried about proceeding as discreetly as possible.

Most of the advice that you and others have provided, always stress the importance of letting as many people as possible know that you’re interested in making a change but that may not be feasible if someone is in a high level job and working with people who are very connected. Any ideas and advice that you may have will be greatly appreciated!

I did a search for “discrete job search” and found a bunch of posts from Monster and other sites. This is not an uncommon question… I haven’t read any of the other articles yet (you can do that from here) because I wanted to give you my thoughts without being swayed by anyone else.

Here’s my advice: do a job search without calling it a job search. You do two things:

  1. Meet new people, develop relationships with people, get beyond superficial (aka networking).
  2. Share who you are, what you do, what you are an expert in, what you are passionate about (aka personal branding).

Job seekers will readily say they are in a job search, but you don’t have that luxury.  So do what normal professionals do: network while you reinforce your brand.

Can you volunteer in your company on committees? If your company is large, volunteering on certain committees might help you get your name out to other people, and start new, valuable relationships within your company.

Can you volunteer outside of your company, on behalf of your company? I know people who have volunteered for United Way, for example, and met a lot of other professionals (great networking contacts) in their area.

Beef up your LinkedIn Profile and strategy. If anyone challenges this (saying it’s a job search strategy) just tell them you are there for professional networking, not for a job search.  The best training I’ve seen for LinkedIn help is my LinkedIn DVD.

Polish your brand and how you deliver it. How would people describe you and what you do?  I bet it’s not the way you want them to.  Take time to figure it out AND figure out what all of your communication lines are (tagline, 30 second pitch, etc.).  Focus on what valuable stuff you deliver to your company… the value proposition.

When you are in the right situation, and you’ll know when that is, you need to have a line like “why yes, I am interested in other opportunities,” or something like that.  Get out there, become known, and you’ll be in a situation where that happens.

The key is to not come across as a job seeker but do the same stuff job seekers do. This is called CAREER MANAGEMENT.  It has everything to do with networking and personal branding, and you should do

What do you guys think?

Update: Just saw this on Twitter: Don’t Get Fired for Job Hunting: 4 Tips (from Susan Joyce at Job-Hunt.org

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Getting The Most Out of JibberJobber: How To

December 21st, 2010

Frequently people tell me they’ve upgraded for a certain reason and then say “it would be cool if JibberJobber did this really neat thing.”

In fact, it does do that really neat thing (usually)!

There’s an easy way to find out what you are probably missing out on: Check out the How To category on this blog.

jibberjobber_how_to

On the left side you’ll see Categories, just click How To and you’ll find a ton of great tips, ideas and features, with instructions on how to use them, such as:

And much more…

Are you getting the most out of JibberJobber?  Check out the How To category to see!

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No Time To Job Search?

December 20th, 2010

Here’s a question from K.G.:

I am crazy busy w/my job. I know I should continue to network (online and in person) but finding the time at the end of the day is a real challenge. At work any kind of online networking is impossible. I come home from work and it feels I used up all my brain-power for the day. I am also in a new relationship which requires some of my time as well.

Appreciate any suggestions you may have.

I’ll take this in bits…

>> I am crazy busy w/my job.

I was too, before I got let go.  I didn’t do any “career management” while I had my job because I naively thought the company would reward me for hard work and loyalty.  My suggestion is to do something… obviously not a 40 hour a week job search, but do stuff every single day (more on that below).

>> I know I should continue to network (online and in person) but finding the time at the end of the day is a real challenge.

It sounds like you come home from work and then think “okay, what can I do to network tonight?”  What if you got plugged into some networking events (you can easily ask around – ask job seekers what events they recommend) and planned for them ahead of time – that way, you know next Tuesday where you’ll be, and can plan for it.

Perhaps more important, what networking can you do at work?  I’m not saying to network as a job seeker, but network with your peers.  Have lunch with different people.  Reach out to new people in your office, or even outside your office.  Become well-known, and develop a strong brand.

Networking and branding are not exercises limited to job seekers who have plenty of time … they are career management strategies that should be done ALWAYS.  So have fun meeting more people at work…

>> At work any kind of online networking is impossible.

DO NOT DO ONLINE NETWORKING AT WORK.  I’d say, in general, LinkedIn is okay, but even that can be scrutinized as a job search tool (which I disagree with).  Just stay away… and even be careful how you phrase things in emails, since those can be monitored also.

>> I come home from work and it feels I used up all my brain-power for the day.

I know the feeling… as per above, either different planning or networking and branding at work… and save your evening time for something else, especially if your brain-power if used up.

>> I am also in a new relationship which requires some of my time as well.

I know the guy you are with and I think he’s a pretty cool dude!

What do you guys think?  What else would you add?

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Utah Job Seekers: Let’s Meet on Tuesday Morning!

December 17th, 2010

On Tuesday (12/21/10) morning at 10am (arrive around 9:30ish) I will speak at the network meeting where this all started.  It is in a church across from this address:

615 E 8400 S
Sandy, UT 84070

If you can come, I invite you to attend (no charge).

Almost five years ago I was laid off.  I resisted “networking” because I was too busy in my job search to network… at church I kept noticing a flyer about this network meeting and I finally decided to go… about a month into my job search.

In general I’d say I’m not much of a networker, and it was hard to force myself to go.  But I did.  I had an “out,” though… I didn’t write down the address.  I thought I knew where it was.  I was wrong, so I drove around for about 20 minutes looking for the place before I gave up.

I repeated this weak attempt to do something constructive the next week, too.

The third week I had the address and finally found the place.  Nervous, I went in, and the rest is history.

I’m excited to go back to this place and share my thoughts, experiences, tools, etc.  If you know of anyone who is in the area, let them know – unemployed or not (aka, underemployed), we’re glad to have them!

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